It's a sad day to realise that not only do you feel like you have nothing to say, but that you feel something akin to fear in saying anything at all.Here it comes - the obligatory "Gee, I don't blog much anymore, do I?" post.
I've been avoiding it all year, truth be told. I read a "Tips for How to Blog Properly" type of list once that said you should never write such a post because it will frustrate your readers. Instead, you should just post when you are inspired.
But it's been so long since I was inspired, hasn't it? My last few posts have been relatively run of the mill. I couldn't even summon the energy to write in more detail about my beloved He Died With a Felafel in His Hand adventure at the Powerhouse. You'd think I could've mustered up some juicy titbits about staging a production, or lyrical prose about the transience of art and shared human experiences in the performance realm.
But no. I was too busy living the production, being responsible for as much detail as possible, and trying to keep my own head above water during a stressful time that it all went in a blur and now almost feels like a dream just out of reach. Like a massage with a feather, leaving just a faint sensation of having been drawn across your skin.
I write all day, (almost) every day for work now, you see. I enjoy my job as an arts writer, but it uses a lot of the creative energy that I used to dollop out on blogging. I have to find a way into arts stories, write them in an interesting and hopefully dynamic way. I spend a lot of time on trying to make what I write something people will want to read. It's not a task that I can ever imagine finishing to my complete satisfaction. There will always be more to try, more to do.
When something happens and I get the faint spark of an idea for a blog post, it is hard to capture that and keep it sacred, keep it away from the gaping maw of the internet, whose job it is to write, rewrite, attack, counter-attack and reposte on every conceivable topic all before I've had my lunch on any given day.
There's so much on the internet, you see. So much sturm und drang, so much opinion, so many articles about what does and does not constitute equality/sexism/douchebaggery/right/wrong, so much goddamned commentary about rape that it makes me want to scream.
I'm not an expert on anything, so why should I throw my voice into the beast? What good does it do? What the hell do I know? At a time in my life where I'm slowly growing more confident in my own skills to achieve certain things, I have simultaneously never felt dumber. Apart from a few dodgy puns, I'm at a loss to explain what kind of contribution I can make.
Putting out any kind of "statement" now seems risky. Given the aforementioned state of "feeling dumb", I constantly feel that I am "wrong", that what I think is abhorrent to others and a stigma on me. All of it - their opinions, my opinions, are tiring.
The other night I tweeted about tattoos...
Girls in the valley - you have such lovely legs, why ruin them with tattoos?
— Natalie Bochenski (@girlclumsy) November 16, 2013
...which prompted a few narky responses about my use of the word 'ruin'. I was called out for being judgemental and/or making women feel bad about their bodies.
I got a bit flustered by that, and metaphorically threw my hands up. "There's just no point saying anything," I thought.
I felt angered because I'm really quite the feminist, and actually believe in freedom of choice. I honestly am happy for people to tattoo the words to Nine Inch Nails' Closer on their forehead if it's what they want.
But you know what? I WAS judging. Because I personally hate tattoos. I loathe them, on men and women. My brain's particular pleasure centres find them displeasing. I do actually think that when you're a young woman with slim toned legs that I personally would strangle a newborn kitten for, that tattoos flung carelessly about your thighs do "ruin" them.
(Here I feel compelled to give a disclaimer: I think I'm personally ruining my body through all number of other factors - poor diet, not enough exercise, sun exposure, etc. So I don't feel "superior", I just feel "judgy").
I do accept reasons that people get tattoos done - remembering or honouring family members or friends, for the beauty they find in them, and most importantly of all, because they fricking well just want some fricking tattoos, and despite the best efforts of the Queensland government, we don't yet live in a total police state.
Now, I hear you wondering, and I myself am pondering, what the frick does it matter if I hate tattoos or not? Maybe I should just shut the hell up and let people get on with their lives. Which is absolutely true.
But it proved to me that I have just gone quiet on so many things. Even just writing the above about disliking tattoos has me fearful of copping an earful.
I've just shut up because I'm honestly too tired to argue, and because I'm tired of being "wrong" all the time. And if I've just shut up about something so trivial (ie tattoos), what else have I shut up about?
Pretty much everything.
I've been listening to the song Roar by Katy Perry a lot recently. I know it's just gummy candy pop with a cute video clip, but a few of its lyrics seem to issue a warning that's hit me right in the girly brain meats.
"I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything."
I would like to stand for something. For several things, even. More importantly, I would like to be able to articulate my position without fear of causing offence and being "wrong".
Hopefully my next post will be about what those things are.*
*Beyond "Say no to tattoos", obviously.